I Dreamed A Dream

This has to happen. This needs to happen.

I was making potato pierogi, and idly thinking about things I’d seen on Facebook today, as one does. This Bruce Springsteen/Jimmy Fallon piece ripping Gov. Christie is brilliant.

I was thinking that Bruce was right in saying that Fallon does a better Bruce than Bruce, when the penny dropped: there was comedy gold to be mined today. Remember Dueling Brandos? I see Dueling Bosses, in a three way with Fallon, Adam Sandler and Bruce his ownself. Someone needs to get on that, stat. People need to call people.

Back From the Shadows

Yesterday I received a letter in the mail addressed to my ex-husband. We have been divorced for 24 years. I never used his name while we were married. When I married the Renowned Local Artist, I changed my name to his. He (the RLA) and I bought this house together in 1993. The ex never had anything to do with this location.

I cannot tell you how hard it was to see the Antichrist’s on a piece of mail addressed to my home. I cannot tell you how violated I felt to have his presence thrust on me like that. Violated. I was crying and shaking. I woke up at 4 this morning with a migraine and spent the next two hours throwing up.

I sorted out the confusion with the owners of the data base that supplied the sender of the letter, but I am still shaken. He is listed on that site (People Finders, FYI) as a “known alias” for me. I find that so hard to understand, seeing as how I never changed my name. It has made me concerned about my credit…the man never paid a bill on time in his life (or his fair share of a dinner tab, or anything else, as far I was concerned) and to have him listed as an alias for MOI???

I may have to go throw up again.

So. Part of this whole third act thing is our relocation to my childhood home, updated to suit our more hipster aesthetic. I’ve spent the last half hour searching for evidence of something I seem to recall from some art history/ethno/cultural exposure: That there was at least one early culture that with some regularity buried the architects of monuments/temples/etc. under their own designs to ensure good hoodoo. The architects’ deaths were arranged to work with the building schedule. No evidence was found, but then, one doesn’t care to search too hard for a string of key words like that, eh? In any event, the reason for the search was my sad realization that I must have been one of those people sending poor innocent architects to their untimely deaths, because my architect karma in this life is batting zero. Over the last 20 years, the RLA and I have engaged 3 architects for three projects. The first was insanely overpriced, showed us no respect, couldn’t be bothered to produce drawings and ultimately delivered a completely unacceptable set of plans for something that was twice the agreed budget. The second round of plans came from an old friend from my home town. Expensive for the likes of us, but the drawings were beautiful and exactly what we wanted. Then the market crashed and there was no way that the beautiful studio could be built. This third go round has elements of the first: the first set of drawings were procured by dint of force. They were priced and whaddayaknow, the first estimate to build came in at exactly TWICE the budget. That was a couple of months ago, and despite emails, pleas and general nagging, nothing.

When I was very young, I used to read whatever I could find in my mother’s library. By the age of ten I was reading James Thurber, I loved The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I loved the movie version with Danny Kaye, but then, I loved Danny Kaye. That there is a reboot currently in the theaters starring Ben Stiller gives me hope that perhaps one of my other favorites from the period will be rediscovered. I refer, of course, to Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, and I fear that this blog will descend to that level. I pray that we don’t end up in full Money Pit.

I’ve written before about my Christmas memories; that I have many and conflicting emotions about them. As merchants, my family went all out for Christmas decorations in the store, but at home there was no Christmas, we celebrated Chanukah. There was no overlap. We had a Jewish, if not kosher, home and a commercial establishment that catered to a Christian community, and for them and for the bottom line, the store celebrated Christmas. The whole family worked in the store during the season. We closed as early as we could shoo the last customer out of the store on Christmas Eve, and had a party in the shoe department (that’s where the chairs are, people) for the store family (all the employees, duh). Then the nuclear family walked over to Grandpa’s house and had a drink and then we all went and ate Chinese food, as one does.

But my friends, those Christians for whom we held Christmas in the store, they all wanted me to enjoy and have Christmas with them. They felt I was missing something, so they gave it to me: tree trimming parties, cookies, ribbon candy, wrapping and unwrapping. And best of all, Christmas food. Today I am remembering my dear, dear, dear friend Kay Thompson and all the Christmas mornings I spent at her home. I remember the year she received her diamond studs from her father, I remember her Porsche 914 (the squashed, flat frog), her Doberman puppy, the equestrian ribbons in her bedroom. I remember her annoying little brothers, Charles and David (who are probably highly respectable businessmen in their 50s with grandchildren now, sorry.) And anyway, that sentence maybe should read that I remember annoying her two little brothers.

But most of all, I remember her mother’s left over ham, fried up and served with red-eye gravy. Kay’s mother could take my one-syllable name and stretch it out to three. Kay and I would just roll our eyes. I wish I could tell Kay today how much I love these memories, and how sad I am that she’s gone, even though we rarely spoke these past 15 years. Just knowing that she was out there in the world made me happy.

Happy Christmas to all. And may you create new memories this year.

Second Hand Rose

About to head back to the studio to make patchwork bags from vintage scraps given to me years ago by Russell Corbett. From his grandmother’s stash. I think, upon studying them, that many are commercial production scraps…20 layers in one cut of a shape that can only be a neckline or armhole. Dress-weight cotton prints from the 30s or 40s, it looks like, and I swear that some of these prints I’ve seen reproduced. These are not reproductions.

I have ideas to pursue.

Today in my studio, I am feeling at home. In my body, in my room, in my space, in my head. That’s a big thing, sometimes, to feel at home. The RLA took some photos of me yesterday to submit to a charity calendar thingie, and I do not like to have my photo took. Years of being behind the camera and in the darkroom have left me convinced that the belief that that the camera somehow steals your soul is not so far-fetched as the rational would have one believe. Even though I wanted to do this, it was hard for me to do, and to let someone else have the camera, even someone I trust as much as the RLA. Two of the resulting shots are quite lovely.  They do not steal my soul so much as admit a glimpse of how I am seen by my husband, who just happens to be one of my oldest (it goes without saying my dearest) friends and a very fine artist. It is a very heady thing to be a muse.

I can’t remember the last time I saw myself like this, if ever. Maybe the photos I had taken when I was thirty, of my back and shoulders, hair up, head turned and profile back-lit. Pre-tats, pre-chicken neck, pre-surgical scars. My father kept a framed copy on his dresser. In the photos from yesterday, you can see some wrinkles and some grey. I am turning 59 next month, and my 50s were a hard decade. I earned this face and this body and looking at this photo, I find am very much at home in both of them. I didn’t know until I saw the photo how much at home and at ease.

I have so many ideas for work, and as I am sewing a large quilt, my mind keeps working on these other ideas. I have to keep a note book next to me so I can sketch and write or else I may forget the details.


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